Photographing Iceland

June 12, 2019

An Adventure at the (Almost) Top of the World


Iceland. The island at the top of the world.

Steaming geysers, drifting icebergs, fuming volcanoes, thunderous waterfalls and black lava beaches forge a land of otherworldly wonder.

Indeed, many Icelanders believe that elvish creatures- huldufólk, or hidden folk- inhabit the harsh landscape. Tourists might snicker at such fairy tales but, gazing across the barren, windswept wilderness and feeling the isolation, it’s easy to start believing in the supernatural.

There is nowhere quite as beautiful & bewitching as Iceland.

Facing [Photography] Fears

It’s long been known that as a basic survival mechanism, fear helps to keep us safe from danger. We naturally stay away from things that scare us. For the most part, that instinct keeps us out of harm’s way. Great!

Art is a little different. As a mostly documentary wedding photographer, actively posing a couple sort of scares me. As an extroverted introvert (yes), a couple’s deep connection scares me and intrigues me. This Icelandic adventure was a way for me to work through those scares.

Facing my fears head on.

An Invitation

I was invited by my good friend and fellow photographer Steven Rooney to join him on this adventure. I’m not one to shy away from the role of glamorous assistant, especially one involving a journey to the land of fire and ice. I’m so grateful to Steven for bringing me along. Please visit his site to see more incredible images from this trip:

Icelandic Engagement Photography by Steven Rooney


“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

Even the flight into Keflavik International airport was quite amazing, the plane flying over ancient lava fields and near volcanoes. During the flight, we saw Scotland from the air, a curious circular rainbow in the clouds and the majestic Icelandic coastline.

After an evening of (very expensive) Icelandic beers in one of Reykjavík’s bars, the next morning it was time to meet the couple and begin the long drive to our first location.

We left the rough grey concrete of Reykjavík behind.

What we found took our breath away. We were looking at an alien landscape, harsh and brutal but immensely compelling at the same time.

Simplicity of Gear

I’d read so much about photographing on location in Iceland, my head was spinning with possibilities. Tripods, reflectors, Profoto lighting equipment, flash modifiers, constant lights, long lenses, ultra wide lenses, multiple bodies, backups, everything and anything was considered.

In the end I decided simplicity was the best approach.

Everything you see here was shot on a Sony 85mm 1.4 GM lens attached to a Sony A7RIII body. Nothing else.

By distilling my gear from a usually complex wedding setup to a minimalist single lens & body combo, I was able to really look at the amazing scenes in front of me and find a deeper connection to the couple.

Thank you again to Steven for the opportunity to join him, and to Beatrix & Ee Wei for being absolute Vikings at every frigid location.





Love this series. Not only have you captured the mood and emotion of your subjects, you have captured the stunning location tool. Bravo.

Absolutely stunning. Well done. ???